The goalkeeper made two big saves in the shooting to lead his team to the semi-finals of the Euro
Spanish midfielder Koke says his team-mate Unai Simon has ‘big balls’ after the goalkeeper acted to give the lead in a win over Switzerland.
Simon struck twice in the shootout, stopping Fabian Schar and Manuel Akanji before Swiss youngster Ruben Vargas shot his header over the bar as Spain reached the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
The goalkeeper’s heroic deeds come a few days after his mistake led to an unfortunate own goal, who deserves praise from his teammate for his ability to bounce back after a disaster.
What was said?
“He has such big balls,” Koke said of his teammate. “What happened to him against Croatia was unfortunate, but what he did afterwards was unbelievable, with great calm. I hope it continues at this level. ‘
He added: “How can it not make us strong to overcome adversity? It unites more and eventually things work. You can see from the outside that the group is united and that we are all 100 percent.”
A feeling of euphoria
Simon explained his own view of the shootout and said he was, at least initially, frustrated that it had come at that stage.
Spain have been playing a man since the 77th minute, when referee Michael Oliver chose to send off Swiss midfielder Remo Freuler for tampering.
Despite the advantage of the man, Spain could not find the goal they needed to avoid a shootout.
Once there, however, Simon acted and led Spain to a quarter-final with Belgium or Italy.
“It’s a feeling of euphoria, but also of anger over all the work the team did in the 120 minutes,” he said. “We should not have arrived there, but we were happy, the coin fell on our side and we are very happy about it. ‘
“Today is very good,” he added, “but we still have to win this European Championship.”